Birds Georgia and Trees Atlanta are delighted to host a long-term art exhibit by Kate Breakey that calls attention to bird population declines. This haunting collection of 64 bird photos is now on display in the Board Room at the Trees Atlanta Kendeda TreeHouse located at 825 Warner Street, SW, Atlanta, GA 30310.
The images were made using the earliest form of photography, a process invented by Hendy Fox Talbott (1800-1877) who is regarded as the father of photography. They are called "photogenic drawings" or "photograms" — images made without a camera. The subject is simply laid on light sensitive paper and exposed to light. The result is a negative shadow image that shows variations in tone that depends upon the transparency of the objects used.
The birds on this wall are part of a larger series of photograms of plants and animals made over a 10 years period. They ranged from the tiniest of creatures —scorpions and beetles, bats and mice, to larger mammals, coyote and deer and everything in between, snakes and birds, possum and rabbits —several hundred individual creatures in all. In the darkroom they became the ghostly shadows of the remains of these living creatures, burned into photographic paper with light and with love, to make a lasting impression, the only document of their brief existence here this earth.
A selection of this work was published by University of Texas press in 2012 as a book titled ‘Las Sombras/The Shadows’.
Some of the birds pictured in this exhibit were killed after colliding with buildings. Birds do not see glass as a barrier or understand its reflection, instead they see an open flyway or larger expanse of habitat. Each year, between 350 million and 1 billion birds perish after colliding with buildings in the United States. Nighttime lighting can attract and disorient migrating birds causing them to crash into illuminated facades or land in locations full of threats. Birds may also become trapped in beams of light where they fly until they are exhausted. During daylight hours, reflections of trees and landscapes confuse birds who have stopped to rest and forage causing them to crash into buildings upon takeoff.
Birds Georgia is working to better understand and pursue actions to reduce bird-building collisions through our Project Safe Flight Georgia and Lights Out Georgia programs. The new Trees Atlanta Kendeda TreeHouse, which Birds Georgia calls home, has been constructed using bird-safe glass, which has been shown to reduce collision by more over 90 percent.
A recent study revealed that more than 3 billion birds have been lost since the 1970s. Through small actions, like turning out the lights at night, and through larger conservation actions, like requiring bird-safe glass in new building construction, we can all do our part to help #BringBirdsBack.
Our deepest thanks to Kate Breakey, the artist, for allowing us to display her work and to Laura Adams, a nature artist, curator, and owner of Brickworks Gallery, whose recent 3 Billion Exhibit at the Hudgens Center for Art and Learning (where these photos were also featured in Spring of 2021) called attention to the steps we can all take to make the world safer for birds.
Birds Georgia will be hosting an open house on Sunday, January 28, at 3:00 PM to give our members and the public an opportunity to visit and learn more. Laura Adams, a nature artist, curator, and owner of Brickworks Gallery, will be on hand to discuss how, through art, we can bring awareness to the tragedy of bird loss and its potential solutions. Adam Betuel, director of conservation for Georgia Audubon, will be on hand to discuss Birds Georgia’s work to study and reduce bird-building collisions. And Kate Breakey, the artist who created these haunting images, will join us via Zoom from her home in Arizona, to discuss her work and the process she uses to create these images. We hope you will join us!
Visit our Upcoming Events page to register for the event.
Birds Georgia is building places where birds and people thrive.